SABIC addresses rising environmental and urbanization challenges with new solutions for transportation at K 2016

Sittard, The Netherlands, October 20, 2016 - By 2050, the United Nations estimates the global population will swell to 9.6 billion, and 70% of those people (up from 54% today) will live in urban areas1. The world’s fast-growing population, and this anticipated increase in urbanization, will drive the need for both more energy-efficient personal vehicles and for modern, affordable mass-transportation systems.

Consider also that by 2050 the number of vehicles on the world’s roads is likely to rise to 3 billion from the 1.2 billion today. Driven in part by regulations designed to reduce the impact of vehicle emissions on the environment, many of those future cars and trucks will likely have electric or advanced hybrid powertrains2.

Meanwhile, other transportation sectors, such as aerospace and rail, also face huge challenges. By mid-century, passenger and freight rail will form the backbone of the transport system, linking major urban hubs and feeding into multi-modal, local transport networks. The European Rail Research Advisory Council estimates that 7,500 to 9,300 new light-rail vehicles and 14,000 subway cars will likely be needed for replacement and expansion purposes over a 20-year period. Rolling stock purchases, along with track and infrastructure construction, civil engineering, and R&D, may equal a total investment of at least $222 billion3.

Boeing Co., meanwhile, forecasts that between now and 2032, there will be demand for more than 35,000 new airplanes, valued at $4.8 trillion. Of these, 41% of the new deliveries will replace older, less-efficient airplanes.

This massive demand for advanced vehicles, airplanes and railcars will require equally impressive progress in innovative materials and processing technologies. SABIC is rising to the challenge, and will demonstrate this at the Oct. 19-26 K 2016 trade fair in Düsseldorf. On Booth D42 in Hall 6, SABIC will showcase its broad portfolio of products that will help the world’s automotive and transportation sectors address the major performance and environmental challenges that lie ahead.

“Many of tomorrow’s technologies in automotive and transportation are actually already on vehicles today and you can see this in some of the unique design approaches displayed within our space at the K,” said Scott Fallon, Automotive business leader. “We are featuring novel, lightweight products that can help customers achieving a range of objectives. We are also sharing stories that highlight how SABIC not only leverages from our broad portfolio of global materials, but also provides the advanced design expertise, engineering and technical support to help drive innovations from initial concept to finished application.”

Among the automotive applications SABIC will be highlighting are:

  • SABIC will be featuring prominently on its booth the latest-generation truck model of Sweden’s Scania AB. Ten years in development, this truck includes more than 30 applications with thermoplastic materials from SABIC, totalling up to about 140 kg per vehicle. SABIC began working with Scania and its part suppliers on this project more than five years ago. In addition to supplying material, it supported part design and provided CAE and mold-flow analysis, material evaluation, part performance simulation, testing and mold trial support. SABIC’s resins -- such as its XENOY™ PC/PBT blend -- helped provide the design freedom to achieve greater aerodynamic efficiency. Indeed, thanks to improved powertrains and better aerodynamics, this new truck generation offers a 5% reduction in diesel fuel consumption. Through its use of SABIC’s thermoplastics, Scania also was able to cut costs through parts consolidation, the elimination of secondary operations, and the streamlining of production.
  • Use of its NORYL GTX™ resin in customers’ plastic-metal hybrid solutions for automotive body-in-white (BIW) applications. The floor rocker reinforcement on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ 2015 Jeep® Renegade, for example, reduces weight by 45% compared with all-steel alternatives, helping to improve fuel efficiency. Through use of NORYL GTX in a thermoplastic honeycomb design with metal flanges, the automaker was also able to meet side-impact protection requirements. The resin’s use as a chassis reinforcement part was named as the year’s most innovation plastic application in the safety category at the 2015 edition of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE®) Automotive Innovation Awards Competition. Structural BIW reinforcement solutions such as this floor rocker sets a precedent for similar applications, opening up potential to save 5 to 8 kg from various BIW components without compromising structural crashworthiness.
  • SABIC also will display at the K an example of how it can help meet demand for lighter bumper parts via thin-wall molding -- in this case, the front bumper fascia on Škoda Auto’s Fabia model. SABIC developed a new grade -- SABIC® PP compound 8750 -- with all of the elements needed for lightweight, thin-wall bumpers: high stiffness, high impact and high flow. The result allowed Tier 1 supplier Magna Exteriors to reduce the bumper’s thickness from 3 mm to 2.5 mm and reduce the part weight by about 10%.

SABIC continues to add new materials to its portfolio to support customers’ solutions in automotive. Examples include:

  • SABIC® POM (unfilled polyoxymethylene or polyacetal), and SABITAL™ glass-fiber-reinforced polyacetal. Typical applications by customers are molded parts requiring high strength and stiffness, hardness and resistance to high temperatures, such as automotive fuel pumps and door handles.
  • SABIC® PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate), commonly referred to as acrylic. This resin can replace glass, providing better performance and weight reduction, which are sought after for automotive taillights, dashboard covers and other transparent surfaces.
  • SABIC® FORTIFY™ POE (a metallocene-based polyolefin specialty elastomer). This impact modifier can help producing lighter, thinner thermoplastic polyolefin interior and exterior parts, while delivering the required stiffness, impact strength, toughness and flexibility.

Various case studies offer examples of how SABIC materials are helping aircraft makers lighten their load and enhance their design capabilities.

  • SABIC’s CLEAR LEXAN XHR2000 sheet for aircraft interiors was a 2015 Crystal Cabin Award winner for materials and components. The product is an industry-first transparent material that is compliant with FAR 25.853 regulations for flame/smoke/toxicity, and OSU 65/65 for heat release. That prompted Zodiac Aerospace, a key supplier to major airlines, to choose SABIC’s JET PANEL™ laminate sheet, a transparent, durable material based on the LEXAN XHR2000 sheet, for its innovative bin design that incorporated storage with a floor-to-ceiling class divider panel. The new design created room for an additional row of seats and expanded bin space.
  • Another variation on this theme -- SABIC’s new, patent-pending LEXAN XHR LIGHT sheet series – can offer up to 36% weight savings over PVC/PMMA-based solid sheet products. This can help increase fuel savings by approximately $660 for each kilogram of weight reduction4. Based on an average plane with 150 seats, this can help each single-aisle jet save up to $33,000 in fuel costs each year. LEXAN XHR LIGHT sheet is currently the lightest sheet available that meets industry OSU and FAR25.853 regulatory requirements.
  • SABIC licensed Italy’s Studio Gavari to design a sleek, ergonomically advanced, 3D-printed, economy-class airplane seat using filaments from SABIC’s ULTEM™ 9085 resin. That grade offers design flexibility, is 3D printing compatible, and FAR 25.853 and OEM toxicity compliant. The resulting design consolidated the number of parts to fewer than 15, reduced weight to improve fuel economy, and demonstrated the potential for high-speed manufacturing efficiency, as well as the commercial feasibility of 3D printed components.


  • SABIC’s commercial and technology teams collaborated with Integral Coach Factory to redesign the handholds for the local metro system in Mumbai, India, for Integral’s customer, Mumbai Rail Vikas Corp. The goal was to replace the existing stainless steel handles, which were high on secondary operations and part count, and low on overall manufacturing efficiency. After adopting LEXAN 923x resin, the result was a first-of-its-kind “multi-grab” handhold that has launched into the market with significant manufacturing cost savings.
  • In Brazil, Monte Meão, a tier suppler to the rail industry, was looking for a fresh, new seating design for São Paulo’s Innovia rail system for its client, Bombardier. They needed a lightweight solution that would increase durability and sustainability while enhancing coach aesthetics. They collaborated with SABIC, which helped Monte Meão gain confidence in an injection-molded alternative to traditional thermoset or fiber-reinforced plastics. Using LEXAN FST3403 resin, the team developed the first injection-molded seat ever specified by Bombardier. Molded by Monte Meão, this highly durable product is up to 15% lighter than fiber-reinforced plastic, which helps to reduce CO2 emissions, is recyclable and requires half the manufacturing time compared with thermoset processing, at substantially lower cost.

SABIC earlier this year also acquired a majority stake in Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics B.V., with manufacturing operations in Lelystad, The Netherlands. SABIC’s new Fibre Reinforced Thermoplastics (FRT) business specializes in making engineered thermoplastic, fiber-reinforced unidirectional (“UD”) tapes. These tapes can be used across a wide variety of industries, ranging from transportation and energy to building and construction.

SABIC at K also will be showcasing, via a campaign called “Talking Chemistry That Matters™,” a series of films, in which customers in various sectors highlight the successful collaboration between them and SABIC, creating “Chemistry that Matters™’. These include:

  • Ricardo Engineering -- a century-old, UK-based engineering, research and development consultancy that aims to develop and apply solutions to meet the challenges in the transportation, energy and scarce-resource sectors ( The two companies have long worked together, with Ricardo providing engineering expertise and deep knowledge of applications, and SABIC providing expertise in material science and design with materials, and have collaborated on projects such as electrical vehicle battery teardowns and the automotive industry’s first polymeric oil pump, a breakthrough development that allows weight savings while meeting strict regulatory demands.
  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) -- the seventh-largest automaker in the world, with brands ranging from Alfa Romeo and Dodge, to Lancia and Maserati ( SABIC has a long history working with FCA on the development of novel crash and energy-management solutions for several vehicle front and rear bumper systems, on structural safety components for the side of vehicle, and most recently on weight-saving plastic-metal hybrid solutions.
  • Yanfeng -- China’s largest Tier 1 exteriors automotive supplier ( SABIC works closely with Yanfeng business units involved in the design, development, manufacturing and sale of auto exterior and interior parts. By using SABIC’s technical expertise and using its STAMAX material, Yanfeng has been able to reduce the weight of key tailgates components – one of its core products -- by about 30%.
  • Sekisui Alveo -- a Japanese-owned company that is a European market leader in the field of polyolefin foams ( SABIC has collaborated for more than 20 years with Sekisui Alveo on innovative polyolefin foam development for high-end applications, which has opened the doors for both companies to new market opportunities not only in automotive, but also in consumer goods, industrial products, and building and construction.
  • Nolan Group SpA -- a renowned Italian motorcycle helmet manufacturer ( SABIC began working with Nolan back when Nolan was founded in 1972, supplying LEXAN resin that was light, tough and versatile to produce helmets. In the ensuing years, SABIC has developed new polycarbonate compounds that have enabled Nolan to employ cutting-edge design while meeting the highest quality and safety standards.

Be sure to visit SABIC at Stand D42 in Hall 6 at K 2016 from Oct. 19-26. For more information, please go to

1 United Nations report “World Urbanization Prospects”
2 The Green Car Congress and
3 Reutter, op. cit. in the 2010 “Global Competitiveness in the Rail and Transit Industry” report by the Worldwatch Institute of Washington, D.C.
4 Composites & Forecasts Consulting LLC

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SABIC is a global leader in diversified chemicals headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We manufacture on a global scale in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific, making distinctly different kinds of products: Chemicals, Plastics, Agri-Nutrients, Metals, and Specialties.

We support our customers in identifying and developing opportunities in key end markets such as Construction, Medical Devices, Packaging, Agri-Nutrients, Electrical and Electronics, Transportation, and Clean Energy.

SABIC recorded a net profit of SR 18.77 billion (US$ 5 billion) in 2015. Sales revenues for 2015 totaled SR 148.09 billion (US$ 39.49 billion). Total assets stood at SR 328.22 billion (US$ 87.53 billion) at the end of 2015.

SABIC has more than 40,000 employees worldwide and operates in more than 50 countries. Fostering innovation and a spirit of ingenuity, we have filed more than 10,960 patents, and have significant research resources with innovation hubs in five key geographies – USA, Europe, Middle East, South East Asia and North East Asia.

The Saudi Arabian government owns 70 percent of SABIC shares with the remaining 30 percent publicly traded on the Saudi stock exchange.

At SABIC, we combine a rich track record of doing what others said couldn’t be done, with a deep understanding of our customers. But our true impact is as a partner who can help our customers achieve their ambitions by finding solutions to their challenges. We call this ‘Chemistry that Matters™’.

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